Research methods in linguistics

General information

Coordinators and contact:

PhD Janina Radó, IEAS, GU Frankfurt,
Apl. Prof. Dr. Frank Richter, IEAS, GU Frankfurt,


PhD Janina Radó
Apl. Prof. Dr. Frank Richter
Dr. Iverina Ivanova
Dr. Nicolas Lamoure

Module 1: Basic research methods in linguistics

Language is an essential feature of all humans that distinguishes us from all other known species. The study of human languages is not only the study of a central social skill but it also provides a unique window to the human mind.

In this course students will get an overview of the basic toolkit in linguistics research: presenting and interpreting linguistic data, linguistic argumentation, and writing like a linguist. We will analyze datasets from different areas of linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax) and practice interpreting data from languages we do not speak. We will also discuss how our own introspective judgments and examples in the literature can be supplemented by working with informants and with small questionnaires. The course will comprise lectures, group work and problem sets.

Module 2: Data-oriented methods in linguistics

Traditional linguistic research was based on laborious manual data collection, or, especially in the second half of the 20th century, on the introspective evaluation of artificially created examples by individual researchers. This has radically changed with the advent of large electronic resources and the adaptation or development of statistical and computational tools for linguistic analysis.

This course will focus on methods for collecting and analyzing larger sets of data for linguistic research. We will discuss corpus and experimental methods to study questions in grammar and language interpretation, and we will use various techniques from the computational toolkit of modern linguistics to visualize processes and results. Students will have the opportunity to work with corpus linguistic and statistical tools to study language use, language change, and translation. The course will comprise lectures, group work and problem sets.